Open Letter to Magic Johnson: You’re Better Than That

Dear Magic Johnson,

I was not surprised last week when Donald Sterling, the embattled Los Angeles Clippers team owner, sat for an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. I knew that there would eventually be a televised interview with Sterling, during which he would defend his record and deny being a racist. His history indicated that he would not go gently “into that good night.” I was a bit surprised, however, that you decided to give an interview as well. Against my better judgement, I watched the Sterling interview; I had to hear what he said that made you think you needed to respond.

I know your name has been dragged into this sordid mess, and it should not have been. In the leaked tapes as well as in his interview with Anderson Cooper, Donald Sterling seems to be obsessed with you. He charged that you weren’t a good role model “for the children of Los Angeles.” He brought up the fact that you are HIV Positive (incorrectly stating that you have AIDS). He said that you told him not to apologize and that you’d “work it out” with V. Stiviano. Finally, in all of his paternalistic benevolence, he asserted that you and other successful black people did nothing for “minorities,” whereas he had given away millions.

Magic, you said in your interview: “I’m always go’n fight for myself and for my people. I will never change, so when he attacked me personally, I have to speak about it.” Seriously, I know where you’re coming from. But, on the real, Magic, you’re better than that. Your participation in his tit-for-tat game allows him to obfuscate the real issues at hand. He has lost all credibility. He was simply trying to take some of the heat off himself. He got himself into this mess. He can get himself out. He can’t escape from what he said on tape and his own public record by trying to vilify you. You said it right in your interview–he’s delusional. Even though he is persona non grata, he insists that “everybody” still wants to be around him and that the players love him.

In short, we know Donald Sterling “didn’t do his homework.” on you. But I think everything you needed to say to him or about him could have been summed up with two statements:

  1. “Keep my name out your mouth!”
  2. (And regarding your charitable giving) “You better Google me!”

Now that the Los Angeles Clippers are out of the playoffs, I am hoping that we will hear less and less about Sterling. (But if he keeps on talking about you, feel free to use the two statements above.)


Da Realist 1